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Restaurant Closings: Updates
Fall Volume: 2009 Issue: 16(3) page(s): 37
Restaurant closings require reporting that Golden Dragon at 833 Washington Street in San Francisco was a place a cabbie friend touted and took us to. However,it and many other great places are going out of business. When he and I ate there, it remined me of Chjinese snack foods eaten in my youth. Individual items arrived on dented wagons moved along by elderly ladies who spoke virtually no English. Almost every item was on a chipped plate. Many of them were with exteriors of all-too-thick pasty pastry. In spite of this, they tasted quite good, though more like each other than each a distinct entity.
The best of the bunch this driver recommended was a pair of steamed rice packets wrapped in lotus leaves. Each was filled with two large pieces of Chinese sausage, a few small scraps of pork and chicken, and a single speck of a yellow-green vegetable. Together they offered minimal taste and maximal chewing. If retro is your dim sum delight, try to find a place like this one before it goes out of business. It filled many of our memory moments. We watched two elderly gentlemen who read their papers, and we listened to them shout over the general din because clearly were hard of hearing. We watched others, young and old, wolf their foods down or linger for a long time. We never knew if they liked the food, the place, or the noise level. Matters not, it is no longer there to like.
Another closing occurred, and we do miss it. Harbour Village at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco closed its doors, too. Many years before, we flew west specifically for one day and one dinner there. The reason, a dozen Sichuan chefs were brought over from Chengdu just for the event we came to savor. That was in days before top chefs came and cooked in the United States. Now, most dim sum chefs are terrific and from Guangzhou, elsewhere in the south of China, or from Hong Kong. On a return visit about a year and a half later, we were alone and ordered four of their fantastic snack items. They arrived with not a chip on a single plate and with an overload of fine service.
Conclusion: Dishes and dining delights do not always impact the longevity of a business. However, when both are tip top it does not always hurt nor does it always help. If you remember a great place that is no more, our pages can keep its memory alive. Send us a few paragraphs about it, and for posterity's sake we will print them.